Are you scratching your head wondering WHY PEOPLE ARE NOT BUYING YOUR CHOCOLATE?
You know the taste is right. The look is intriguing. The flavor is great. The texture is there. And still, orders online come in slow motion. Customers seem scared to come into your store. And you can only dream to be in the same shelf with the most famous artisan chocolate brands because at the moment distributors can care less about your creations.
Being a chocolatier is a hard job, and you should be rewarded for that! I know that your biggest reward doesn’t come from money, but from customers coming back for more and telling you how good your chocolate was. How they gave it to their family and everybody was impressed. How they feel they can trust you and the quality of your work. Still, they have to buy it first. And somehow there is something wrong that restrains your sales from taking off. But WHAT?
Putting some knowledge of marketing into (hopefully) good use, I’d like to help you diminishing this frustration. So let me give you some hints on what might be wrong in your business strategies other than your chocolate. Here are 6 potential reasons why your chocolate is great but your sales are not.
Lets get into it!
1) PACKAGING – Yours is not appealing.
Chocolate itself is more important than its cover. No doubt about it. But consider this: if your packaging doesn’t have the WOW effect, your creations will never get picked and brought to the cash register. At that point, it won’t even matter how good your chocolate is, since it will be destined to a dusty shelf anyway. With nowadays fierce competition, investing in a professionally designed packaging is crucial. Hire a designer to freshen up the image of your chocolate. It’s all money well spent.
Check out What A PRIORI taught me on Competitive Chocolate Packaging to know exactly the characteristics of a successful design.
2) ASSORTMENT – You only care about your taste.
One of the biggest mistakes a chocolatier that owns a chocolate company can make is taking decisions on product lines ignoring customers’ taste and preferences. I know you would wish for everybody to have the same enthusiasm you have for your creations. Sometimes though you have to admit that a particular flavor you are so proud of is not selling, and it won’t get any better. What customers want must be your MAIN FOCUS if you want to escape the reputation of a mom and pop chocolate store and build a competitive brand.
Start following the latest trends of the chocolate industry and pay more attention to your customers’ feedback.
3) WEBSITE – You have been cheap, and it shows.
If your intention is to sell your delicious chocolate within 5 miles from your store, then don’t bother with a nice website. If your goals are more ambitious than that, the appearance of your products online should be your N°1 priority. Your website is the place where potential customers make the decision to buy or not your creations. Treat it with the same accuracy with which you would arrange your real store. Beautiful design, clean layout, essential info, easy to go through.
To know how the website of the most successful fine chocolate brands looks like, find out 8 Moves to the Best Website for Your Chocolate Company.
4) POSITIONING – You have no clue which segment of the market you belong to.
Do you know who your competition is? If the answer is NO, you consequently got all your marketing strategies wrong. Because you can’t just generally consider every chocolatier or chocolate maker as a direct competitor. Otherwise it is like Hershey being in competition with Dick Taylor. Apples and bananas. You need to have a clear profile for your chocolate (Luxurious? Young? Super healthy? Innovative?) to see where you stand in the market and who is next to you in the same race.
Put together all the characteristics of your chocolate, and your direct competition will be the group of those brands with the same profile as yours.
5) SOCIAL MEDIA – Your presence online equals zero.
Over, and over, and over again. I will be your worst nightmare until you TRULY realize how a strong online presence is fundamental for your chocolate business now and especially in the future. Today your chocolate might be targeted to adults that you wrongly believe don’t use the Internet, but those ladies and gentlemen will be replaced soon by the youngsters that are now using Social Media every 10 seconds. And if you want to be among their favorite brands, you’d better start getting in touch with them as soon as possible. Freshen up your Social Media accounts and make the effort to use them every day. You’ll be repaid in the long run.
If you seriously want to thrive on Social Media, no way you can miss my articles on Instagram Dos and Donts for Chocolate Companies and 10 Reasons Why your Chocolate Company needs a FB Page.
6) PRICE – You got the wrong pricing strategy.
Are you sure you are asking your customers for the right amount of money? Left aside your personal calculations on costs of production and margins of profit, you have to consider if what you are offering is aligned with the price you ask for. If you present your creations as luxury items, no customer faced with a 3oz chocolate bars for $3.00 is going to have much trust in what you proclaim. At the sometime, I doubt you’ll have that many buyers for a fat-bloomed chocolate bar wrapped in a creased packaging for $9.00. Customers are willing to spend their money where they see coherence between what they are promised and what they are seeing. Act accordingly.
Based on the segment of the market you are in, have a look at the prices of your competition and compare them with yours to find out if you got the right pricing strategy or you might need to rethink it.
I hope that this will help you start working on your weaknesses. And please, don’t be afraid of making drastic changes if your old strategies are no longer serving you.
Can YOU think of other reasons why a great chocolate might not have great sales?
I did NOT get paid and did NOT receive any kind of favor for writing this article. These are my honest opinions at your service.